Selfless (album)

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An electron microscope photograph of human nerve cells growing on a computer chip
Studio album by
Released26 September 1994
RecordedJanuary–May 1994
GenreIndustrial metal
Godflesh chronology
Songs of Love and Hate
Singles from Selfless
  1. "Xnoybis"
    Released: 1994
  2. "Crush My Soul"
    Released: 1995

Selfless is the third studio album by British industrial metal band Godflesh. It was released on 26 September 1994 in Europe and on 18 October 1994 through Earache and Columbia Records. Being the band's major-label debut, the record features a more conventional and rock-oriented sound compared to Godflesh's previous releases. It spawned two singles, "Xnoybis" and "Crush My Soul". The music video for the latter was directed by photographer Andres Serrano.[1]

At the 2018 Roadburn Festival, Selfless was performed live in its near entirety for the first time.[2] "Go Spread Your Wings", the album's 23-minute closing track, was substituted with "Messiah" and "Merciless", two songs recorded in the same sessions as Selfless.[3]

Background and composition[edit]

Since Selfless and its preceding EP Merciless (1994) saw Godflesh with a major record label, the band was assigned a professional to do final mastering. Bob Ludwig was called in to enhance the pre-existing masters. Godflesh frontman Justin Broadrick spoke positively on this experience, saying that Ludwig's changes were improvements.[4] The album reportedly takes its name from the John Coltrane record, Selflessness: Featuring My Favorite Things (1969),[5] and the cover is a photograph of human nerve cells growing on a microchip.[6]

Broadrick described Selfless as his "rock & roll" album. Nevertheless, on the record's sound, AllMusic's Ned Raggett states: "The rough, clipped, lock and load style of the band remained essentially unchanged at heart -- Broadrick's brawling, echoed vocals, the sheer impact of the guitars and drum machine beats, Green's uneasy bass. Still, some of the singing is Broadrick's most conventional, some of the riffing almost epically classic rock, and the technical/digital pulse at the heart of the band sufficiently straightforward enough not to annoy those who can't stand the idea of a non-human drummer."[7] According to The Quietus, the album "returned to the super-dense riffery of their debut but also saw a widening melodic strain that would come to full bloom in Broadrick’s post-Godflesh act Jesu."[8] Trouser Press reported that the album drops the previous techno inclinations for "slow-motion Melvins meltdown surrealism and variations on Chicago skronk ratchetry."[5] In 2018, Broadrick called the track "Anything Is Mine" a blatant rip-off of Celtic Frost.[9]

Broadrick considered Selfless the "last pure record" that Godflesh made until reforming and releasing 2014's A World Lit Only by Fire and 2017's Post Self.[10]

Release and critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[7]

Licensed by Columbia Records to break the band to a larger alternative audience, the album sold approximately 180,000 copies,[11] yielding a commercial result below expectations.[12] New Zealand drone metal band Black Boned Angel named themselves after the album's third track.

AllMusic critic Ned Raggett wrote that some tunes on the record are "both unpleasant enough to keep the wimps away and accessible enough to win over the more open-minded." Raggett further added: "It's a slightly uneasy balance but one that the band still makes work, with enough worthy tunes on Selfless to make it of interest."[7] Joe Coyle of Duke University's The Chronicle praised Selfless as Godflesh's first complete, satisfying album, writing, "And while the song structures on this new album still remain far from complex, they are all perfect. This album is an achievement that has been long overdue."[13]

Track listing[edit]

3."Black Boned Angel"6:46
4."Anything Is Mine"3:59
6."Crush My Soul"4:26
7."Body Dome Light"5:30
11."Go Spread Your Wings"23:51
Total length:78:12


  • On vinyl releases of Selfless, track 11, "Go Spread Your Wings", is not included.



Additional personnel

Chart performance[edit]

Charts (1994) Peak
UK Top Independent Albums[14] 12


  1. ^ Weaver, Jane (February 1995). "Crucifixion's Cool". New York. 28 (7): 20.
  2. ^ Bannon, Jacob. "Further Artists Confirmed for Roadburn 2018". Roadburn Festival. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  3. ^ Ayers, Chris. "Godflesh – Messiah". Exclaim!. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  4. ^ Kinski, Klaus. "an interview with Justin K. Broadrick". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b Aswad, Jem; Robbins, Ira. "Godflesh". Trouser Press.
  6. ^ Selfless (CD liner notes). Godflesh. Columbia Records. 1994. CK 66157. Retrieved 20 April 2018.CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ a b c Raggett, Ned. "Godflesh – Selfless". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  8. ^ Haynes, Rob (20 June 2010). "Godflesh To Play Supersonic. Justin Broadrick Talks Reformation". The Quietus. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  9. ^ Mudrian, Albert. "Godflesh's Justin Broadrick: 'I Never Feel Comfortable at Any Festival'". Decibel. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  10. ^ Broadrick, Justin (21 April 2018). "Kicking against the pricks with the Birmingham prodigy". Resident Advisor (Interview). Interviewed by Holly Dicker. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  11. ^ Nasrallah, Dimitri (21 August 2010). "Justin Broadrick: Napalm Death – Godflesh – Techno Animal – Jesu – Pale Sketcher". Exclaim!. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  12. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. p. 432. ISBN 1843531054.
  13. ^ Coyle, Joe (12 January 1995). "Short & Sweet: Godflesh – Selfless". The Chronicle.
  14. ^ "Top 30 Independent Albums". UK Independent Singles and Albums Charts. 1994. Retrieved 11 July 2018.

External links[edit]